Sunday, April 2, 2017

Luleå Goes Metal - Sabaton Concert!

Hello fellow metalheads!

I just came home from Luleå, where I went yesterday to see Sabaton, my favorite band. I bought my Sabaton ticket fairly late and was really happy to see that they were still available! The reason why I didn't buy my ticket earlier was because I was put face-to-face with a really tough choice for metalheads like me. You see, I had to choose between my two absolute favorite bands and I could only pick one! I could either go and see Stratovarius in Tornio, Finland (which would be really close to me) or Sabaton in Luleå and close-ish to my hometown. Drat, hard choices like this shouldn't be allowed to exist! xD

I thought about it for a few days and in the end I picked Sabaton. I just had to go with what my gut was telling me because I knew deep within all the time, that if I didn't go and see Sabaton now, I would have regretted it. These are the reasons why I picked Sabaton over Stratovarius:

1) Sabaton is my favorite band and has had a very positive impact on my life.
2) I've wanted to see them since I started to listen to their music back in 2009.
3) Sabaton plays very seldom in the north, last time was at Kiruna in 2013.
4) I've already seen Stratovarius in the past.

I just hope that Stratovarius will come to northern Finland again in the near future while they still play live. These guys are getting old by now as they are pioneers within their type of music and the band was formed in 1994. I'd love to see them again! Stratovarius has also been -just like Sabaton- a band that has helped me a lot through life, especially through difficult times. There is not much more I can do except for holding my thumbs and checking their tour dates every now and then.

Now to the actual concert day and story. You guys with me? Great! Let's rock 'n roll away then!

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My journey towards Luleå started around 16:30 local time but a few hours before I headed towards the cinema, where I would get a free ride from one of my cinema buddies' relatives, I tried and put on my so-called "outfit of the day". Those who knows what kind of lyrics Sabaton's songs have or me as a person, already knows what to expect. But those of you who have no clue, let's just say *inhales* I HAVE A UNIFORM AND I'M NOT AFRAID TO USE IT! :DD

- If you have an issue with my outfit below, I seriously wonder why you are even reading this post ;) -

Photographer: Shiro Samurai

Sabaton is love, Sabaton is life. Go figure! ;)
I mean, when I for once have the perfect chance to wear an uniform to a concert without having people there giving me weird looks or staring at me like they have never seen a human being before, I'm so taking that chance! <3

We all arrived at Luleå a bit past 18:00 but we weren't in a hurry as the first band (out of 3) would start playing first at 19:00 and Sabaton at 21:30. The first band to perform was Twilight Force and the second one was Accept. I heard from my buddy that many came just to see Accept, which didn't surprise me when I heard how big they are. While Twilight Force was playing (I haven't listened to them, unless I came by a song by random chance somewhere) I went to see what t-shirts were up for sale. I thought it would be wiser to buy the t-shirts first to ensure that you get the print you want in the right size too. I found a Twilight Force t-shirt for bro (he asked me to look for their t-shirts at the concert before I left) and a really cool Accept t-shirt for myself. Yupp, I instantly fell in love with said t-shirt design when I saw it. So it was an easy pick and I didn't buy anything from the Sabaton stand as nothing there tickled my fancy, sadly. After that I had done my shopping I went to see what was left of Twilight Force's performance and the last song they played was Twilight Horizon. I found it really cool that the band members wore fantasy/magic inspired clothing, I remember that one of the guys had a robe and a purple staff and one had a sword or some kind of knight/hero outfit. Sadly, I don't have photos from their performance as I wouldn't have had time to get a decent photo with my shit-of-a-phone-camera, as I came in when they played their 2 last songs. Yes, there was a rule at the concert that forbid cameras, so I had no choice than to leave mine at the storage area. Luckily I didn't need to pay a storage fee for it, as it was just one small thing.

What I'm trying to get at, is that all the concert photos below are taken with my mobile phone's camera, which is not exactly a high quality one as it's an old model by now. I also want to say that I had a really hard time to even get a decent photo because of the darkness in the concert hall, the constant motion of the band members and of course, the crowd. My short height certainly didn't make it any easier as I kept getting taller persons standing in front of me and blocking my sight to the stage! At one point, I got enough of not seeing jackshit and moved my butt to the right and left side of the concert hall, so that I could at least see something. It wasn't as crowded at the sides compared to the middle area. Now you know why many of my photos are taken from the angle they are.

Once the clock hit 20:00 it was time for the famous German band, Accept to enter the stage. I personally haven't listened to them but at least I recognized their last song which was Balls to the Walls and I must say that I really need to check these guys out now! They rocked my socks off! \m/

Photographer: Frozen Angel


Wow... I'm blown away by the singer's voice and how high up he can go. Keeping in mind that these guys have been rocking since somewhere around the 1970's O_e
Since I don't listen to these guys -yet- I sadly can't tell what songs they played but I loved them! But I'm sure that at least two of them were Stampede and Stalingrad as I heard those really clearly sung at the refrain several times during the songs. When Accept had finished their last song, I took my chance to visit the bathroom before Sabaton would conquer the scene, as there was about 20 minutes left before they would begin. It was very clear that when Sabaton began playing their songs that many had been waiting for just them as people kept cheering, clapping hands, whistling and shouting "Sabaton!" before they even entered the stage. Such a crowd. All songs that Sabaton played were familiar to me and of course they started with the classic Ghost Division from one of their older albums. I heard they use to do this at their live concerts. I really enjoyed that their performance had some realistic elements from well, war, such as on-scene fireworks, song-related video/image playing in the background, fire shooting upwards (like the smoke on the photo above) and those soldier helmets and dog tags hanging from their microphones. The extra stuff that makes it clear that you're listening to a band whose lyrics are taken and inspired from real historical battles fought throughout the centuries.

Joakim (singer and Sabaton's front man) performing Sparta.
Some of their songs had people dressed up as soldiers of different kinds, like these guys as sparta soldiers. Horn up for the extra coolness! \m/
The guitar player to the left is from Boden (close to Luleå) and Joakim joked about the "norrlänningar" (people living in the northern part of Sweden) taking over because there are so many at the concert (duh!) and one in their band too xD



Sabaton performing a very beautiful ballad version of The Final Solution. They dimmed the light (hence the quality drop) and the audience waved with whatever lightsource they had at hand. It was so beautiful... I legit cried! ;__;
Some of the songs that Sabaton performed at Luleå were The Lost Battalion (the feels!), Carolux Rex (Swedish version), Swedish Pagans, The Last Stand, Lion From the North (Swedish version), To Hell and Back and Shiroyama. Sabaton was AMAZING! But after they played The Final Solution I really had to leave the concert hall for the remaining few songs, as I got in such an emotional state that I had to give myself some time alone and just calm down. During this time I also tried to call my friends and relatives if they could give me advice/possible pick me up from Luleå as I was really in the shit. You see, I had nowhere to sleep during the night and the concert was ending soon. I was really close to book this one local hostel in the heart of Luleå but I kept getting the feeling that I shouldn't, so I didn't. The peeps I arrived with had already a place to sleep at and they couldn't take in one more, my cinema buddy was nice enough to ask around but didn't get a positive answer from anyone. Sadly. I appreciated the help but once the concert had ended, I was all on my own and this is where I started to loose my cool and almost panic. I kept calling friends and relatives over and over again and no one answered until Sacchan at one point, called me back. I explained the situation to her and she couldn't sadly help me out, even if she'd love to, but that was okay. I was happy enough to have someone to talk to, so that I could calm myself down a little bit. Later Shiro Samurai called me and told me his suggestions over my situation and so did my aunt (yeah, I actually called her) and she said the same as bro. I had 3 choices that I could act upon and after having all of them who answered me suggesting the cheapest option, I rolled with it, as I was -after all- really low on money.

At one point soon after midnight, I called the local taxi and before the taxi arrived there was this one fellow metalhead guy who was in a very similar situation as me (who also had his phone dying on him) and asked if I could help him get a taxi. We took the same taxi to Luleå city and from there we tried to find a hotel that was not fully booked or closed. We went through 5-6 hotels and he was sounding like he was giving up but I was sure that we'll find something. I kept having the feeling that we will. Later we found a hotel called "Arctic Comfort Hotel" and its doors were locked but there was this one guy opening the doors for us. We asked if there was any rooms left and at first he said that there wasn't but he double-checked it. To our luck, there was this one customer who had cancelled their stay at the hotel so there was a 2-bed room available. The two of us took it and paid 50-50 of the price which was 375 SEK per person and the receptionist guy was so kind to even give us a discount from the full price! I know you guys think I'm crazy now for sleeping one night with a stranger from the concert but hear me out; if I wouldn't have helped this guy out, I don't know if he would even have found a roof over his head. In the worst case scenario he might have gotten lost in Luleå or frozen to death somewhere. I felt somewhere in my gut that I had to help him find a place to stay at and this might have been why I didn't book that hostel earlier. Anyway, who knows?

He was very likely a little bit drunk from the concert as he kept saying things like "Do you want to share a room with me at the hotel?" (I don't know how to take this) and "Do you want to go to a bar with me?" and such things that bugged me and made me feel slightly uncomfortable. But since I have very good control over myself and really high confidence I didn't let that discomfort shine through. I kept holding my guard up and countered effectively whatever he tried to do or say that went against me. Whenever I told him to quit whatever he was doing/saying (even if something very small), he did quit immediately and apologized for his behaviour. It was nice that he had great respect for others and the night went well at the hotel. He gave me my personal space and didn't try to do something weird/stupid (I was still on my guard though) and we had a conversation about metal music and he shared his dream about climbing Sweden's highest mountain, Kebnekajse. Which was interesting.

Today on the morning I woke up at 06:30 and left the hotel (after having breakfast there) to hop on the first bus back to my hometown, as I just wanted to get home as soon as possible to rest. I hope the guy will be alright but it's not my duty to babysit anyone but one thing is for sure - my gut had led me to get a cheaper hotel price (375 SEK at a hotel instead of 500 SEK at a hostel) and doing the "good deed of the day" for a fellow metalhead, who might not have made it without my help. I'm safe and sound at home now writing this post and I feel really good about my goodwill towards that fellow guy.

Now when I'm home I want to share with you guys the two awesome t-shirts that I bought from the concert:

Twilight Force for bro and Accept to myself.
That's it for this post and thanks for reading! Hope you heavy rockers out there enjoyed it! \m/

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Oh yeah, I almost forgot! I was very surprised to notice when I arrived at the concert building, that I was the only flippin' one person wearing an uniform! You see, usually there are at least some people wearing uniforms during a Sabaton concert because hey, it's fucking Sabaton. I heard from my good friend Firith, who saw Sabaton in Helsinki this year, that there were people in uniforms there and that you often see them at the concerts. You can imagine our faces when we kept going "What the actual fuck man?!" when we spoke with each other.

I guess I was the only handsome guy at Luleå with balls... eiku :DD